New scam with fake Outlook appointment invitations
Outlook appointment invitations are nothing unusual. Especially in times of home office, a particularly large number of them end up in the e-mail inboxes every day. Some may be accepted a little too quickly – a mistake.
A new phishing scam is taking hold: users should currently check Outlook appointment invitations that land in their mailbox or calendar particularly critically. The Bremen consumer advice center advises this. This is because criminals are increasingly trying to use this scam to verify email addresses in order to misuse them for spam, identity theft and attacks on online accounts.
Users should therefore exercise caution when inviting appointments via Outlook. At first glance, these are not always immediately recognizable as fake, as the invitations seem to come from acquaintances or colleagues. This is possible because the criminals have also hacked their email accounts beforehand. So if you find something strange about such an invitation, you should just pick up the phone and ask whether the invitation is genuine, advise consumer advocates. Otherwise, the scammers’ emails often attracted attention due to strange sender addresses or spelling mistakes. Other languages are also suspect.
Also read: Experts criticize – well-known mail apps read e-mails and addresses
Be sure to delete incorrect Outlook appointment invitations
Outlook appointment invitations identified as calendar spam should not only not be accepted. Clicking on cancel buttons is also taboo. The following applies: Only delete both the mail and the appointment in the calendar. Depending on the Outlook setting, the latter may already have ended up grayed out without you having to do anything.
While the mail can be deleted directly, Outlook asks when the appointment is deleted from the calendar whether the sender should be notified. It is important to prevent this by clicking on “No”. Otherwise the fraudsters would have achieved their goal: They know that this email address is being actively used.
Correct Outlook settings can protect
To prevent appointment invitations from automatically ending up in the calendar, you have to change the Outlook settings. Under “File / Options / E-Mail / History” you will find the point “Automatically process meeting requests and responses to meeting requests and voting”.
Here you just have to uncheck the box. And if you have set up automatic answering of meeting requests yourself, you should deactivate it again to protect yourself from calendar spam.